Home / Volley / Global Football / Gov’t negotiates Gold Cup feed; Sancho, TTFA discuss Pan Am bacchanal

Gov’t negotiates Gold Cup feed; Sancho, TTFA discuss Pan Am bacchanal

Sport Minister Brent Sancho revealed today that the Government hopes to acquire live feeds for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup in time for Trinidad and Tobago’s opening match against Guatemala on Thursday July 9.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team celebrates a goal against El Salvador during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team celebrates a goal against El Salvador during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Sancho, a former 2005 Gold Cup and 2006 World Cup player, promised, earlier in his tenure, to allow the Trinidad and Tobago public to see their sport teams in action on local television. And he hopes to start with the Gold Cup.

“I am still talking to the different parties and we know there is interest from different (corporate companies),” Sancho told Wired868. “We would like to make sure the public can see these games live so we are working on making it a reality. It is of high importance that we work out a reasonable deal to have it shown.

“And not just football, we want to get most of our sport shown in Trinidad (and Tobago) so our public can see what our national teams are doing.

“I think it gives our athletes and sports a good market to hopefully inveigle corporate sponsorship. And it transcends down to the young ones who can see their heroes perform on the world stage.”

But it was a rare spot of good news for football as disharmony between the Sport Ministry and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) again affected the preparation of its national teams.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013. Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (centre), ex-2006 World Cup player Brent Sancho (right) and TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips address the media during a happy moment between the trio in 2013.
Sancho was announced as the Sport Minister in February 2015.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Yesterday, the Trinidad and Tobago National Women’s Senior Team and National Men’s Under-23 Team both left for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, which officially starts on July 10.

But it was a matter of problems postponed rather than solved as the TTFA and Sport Ministry remain at loggerheads over match fees promised to footballers while mismanagement and distrust continues to hamper the respective teams.

Key to the current rift, which led to a threatened boycott by the “Women Soca Warriors”, was match fees of US$500 per game that was promised to both teams.

But, as the two teams prepared to depart, the TTFA could only assure the players of US$600 each for the entire three week competition.

It prompted a furious social media response from star attacker Kennya “Yaya” Cordner and a threatened boycott from her teammates.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacker Kennya Cordner (right) tries to escape a challenge from Ecuador right back Ingrid Rodriquez during their FIFA Play Off second leg meeting in Port of Spain on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

TTFA general secretary Sheldon Phillips described the episode as a misunderstanding and suggested that the Women Warriors erroneously thought they were not due match fees.

“There were some players who thought that was it,” Phillips told Wired868, “and we said that is what we would be able to source (at the moment).”

It took an assurance from the Sport Minister to team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson to placate the women.

“My first concern was making sure we got them on the plane,” said Sancho. “Sheldon apparently told the girls not to go on the plane and wait for us to meet to sort it out, which didn’t make sense because they would have missed their flight…

“I said to get on the plane and we will sort it out.”

Phillips retorted that his suggestion was for a morning meeting, which would not have jeopardised the team’s travel plans.

More importantly though, Sancho’s promise did not necessarily address the issue since, according to the Sport Minister, he did not agree to any specific sum.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“First, we have to get a full scope of what is happening,” said Sancho. “We have to sit with a representative of the TTFA… We don’t know if we can meet their demands.

“We have to make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are used appropriately.”

TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee reiterated that the players only hope for match fees lay with the Government.

“Yes, the match fees will come down to the (Sport) Ministry,” said Tim Kee.

Both sides lay bare their misgivings about the other party and there was a hint that, even if the Pan American teams receive their due, future national football teams might suffer for the TTFA’s perceived brinksmanship.

“I am drawing the line in the sand,” said Sancho, who suggested that the TTFA was less than forthright about its true financial situation. “This is it (and) it is going to have a ripple effect on the other teams. We want to try our best to make the athletes happy but this is a song that has been playing for donkey years…

“If one party is seemingly not operating in the most honest way, then we have a problem.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup. Gomez is a member of the 2015 Pan American Games team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Shannon Gomez (right) battles for possession against Cuba during the 2014 Under-20 Caribbean Cup.
Gomez is a member of the 2015 Pan American Games team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Sancho claimed the TTFA was due a CONCACAF payment of US$100,000, which was meant to prepare the National Senior Men’s Team for the 2015 Gold Cup. But, he said, the sum had not been mentioned in multiple discussions between the two parties.

“They told us that they only had $13,000 (TT) in their account so they couldn’t pay for visas for the Under-23 Team,” said Sancho “but one of the challenges we have is gauging what they have and what they don’t have because we got information that they received $100,000 US from CONCACAF.

“Then, when they knew we were aware of it, they said they would get the money at the end of July. Then, when we asked why preparatory money would only be available after the tournament, they came back and said they would get it by the end of the week.

“It is hard to keep up with the stories.”

Tim Kee countered that the CONCACAF payment had been affected by chaos enveloping the governing body, whose president Jeffrey Webb is fighting an extradition request by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).

Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Photo: CONCACAF president Jeff Webb (right) has a word with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

He claimed the preparation funding would usually be available to teams before the Gold Cup but that was not the case on this occasion. The TTFA, he said, made a special request for some funds before the competition.

“When these things happened in Zurich the other day, there was a lot of panic in CONCACAF and people being sent home and so on,” said Tim Kee. “We applied to CONCACAF for some of that money as a loan and that is where we got $330,000 US from…

“They limited the maximum we could get to one third and that is compromising their own laws because they are very strict about (associations) getting something for one purpose and using it for something else.

“But they are fully aware of the challenges we face and they have compromised…”

Sancho insisted that the TTFA never submitted a specific request for match fees for its Pan American Teams.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2. Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Maylee Attin-Johnson (centre) signals during their 1-0 FIFA Play Off defeat to Ecuador in Port of Spain on December 2.
Looking on are teammates Arin King (left) and Kennya Cordner.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“The TTFA submitted budgets for about 10 different teams when we first met,” said Sancho. “Since then, we have met with (TTFA official William) Wallace and Sheldon (Phillips), Wallace and (Senior Team coach Stephen) Hart, Wallace alone, Wallace and Tim Kee…

“Every time they came in, they were asking for different things. First, it would be flights, then flights and hotels, then a game was on and then off.

“These are the kind of things we have to deal with… They sent in an overall budget for all the teams but the cases change over time.

“They have to have specific requests for specific teams to access money. And from my knowledge, we didn’t have anything specific for the women’s team.”

Tim Kee conceded that the TTFA did not make an official request for the Women Warriors. However, Phillips suggested that the Sport Ministry was partly culpable for the budget changes referenced by the Minister.

Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse. (Courtesy SPORTT Company)
Photo: Sport Minister Brent Sancho (centre) pays a visit to Bourg Mulatresse.
(Courtesy SPORTT Company)

“The adjustments in the budget are based on the continual shift in what we were told we had access to,” said Phillips. “It is very difficult to plan when this is happening. We are trying to create revenue streams that will lessen that dependence but that will take some time…

“The latest narrative we are getting from the Sport Ministry is NGOs don’t get their full subvention. So you present us with what we are authorised to get and we do our budget based on what you gave to us. And then at the eleventh hour, you tell us NGOs don’t get their full subvention…

“It has been an ongoing conversation and we will continue to sit with the (Sport Ministry) to sort things out.”

The overriding issue, of course, is the TTFA’s failure to raise money to fund its own teams.

“They have to take a long hard look at themselves and how they raise money,” said Sancho. “To sit down and wait for taxpayers’ money is ludicrous. We have lots of other sporting bodies who don’t have FIFA and CONCACAF money and they make it work and raise their own money.

“They need to tailor their plans according to the money they have. The Government is supposed to assist with a shortfall (so) if you have money coming in, then you use it.

“Cricket and everyone else seems to manage without issue or find ways of getting round their shortfalls. This is the only body we have this problem with.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Just over a month ago, the TTFA requested match fees of US$1,000 for the Under-23 Men’s Team. The Sport Ministry retorted that it would pay no more than half the match fees requested for all national football teams.

So, the TTFA promised the Under-23 Men’s Team US$500 match fees instead. But an agreement was not reached with the Sport Ministry.

The Women Warriors then threatened to boycott the Pan Am competition unless they received equal pay with the Under-23 Men’s Team.

So now both teams have promises with no guarantor. And the TTFA and Sport Ministry continue to glare at each other with distrust and apprehension.

Sancho accused the TTFA of trying to hold the Sport Ministry over a barrel.

“It seems like we are always outing fires before we could even enter into negotiations with them,” said Sancho. “Because they agree match fees and stipends (with their players) and then throw them at us. I don’t know what the final arrangement was for the (TTFA) and the (Pan Am) players so there is a lot to happen before we get to (the promise to the Women Warriors).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women's Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on December 2 in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago players Kennya Cordner (right) and Anique Walker head for the dressing room after their 1-0 FIFA 2015 Women’s Cup Play Off second leg defeat to Ecuador on December 2 in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“The main thing is I didn’t want an embarrassment to the country… The (TTFA) made it abundantly clear that they will be getting money from CONCACAF.

“So we will see how that goes and take it from there.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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80 comments

  1. How many more times will this happen? TTFA are clueless about football !!

  2. Yeah lasana them fellas real cheap and low they only time they spend money is people money or if they running h.es

  3. Dion Sosa, your intel is so good that you have info on the men’s draws too? Lol.

  4. There is an issue right now with having the new proposed constitution accepted Sebastian Mckay. I’m slowed down because of the volume of football happenings these days. But I will update you all soon.

  5. i have q question for Lasana Liburd. wasnt there supposed to be internal elections in the TTFA, that were put off cause they were being helped by FIFA with some sort of reform?? how is the reform effort going or has it been abandoned and further more are the elections postponed indefintely or cancelled?

    • FIFA mandated that all member countries update their statutes to reflect FIFA’s own updated statutes. FIFA also decided that it makes no sense to have elections with an outdated constitution, only to have to hold elections again after the new constitution is adopted. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yKKZO9IIr8) Thus the constitutional reform must be completed before the new elections can be held. The ExCo were to meet last Monday to vote on the proposed constitutional reforms but too short a notice was provided. The new vote is scheduled for Sunday, with elections to follow in early October.

  6. As usual Gordon that man love spotlight and 2 spend people money at central fc he and his boy real spend up SIS money making people feel is their own money spending both of them don’t even dip in their pockets 2 buy a good draws for themselves

  7. Dion Sosa Lasana Liburd uncle Earl Mango Pierre just read all the daily newspapers super sancho saves the day!!! Thats why i had to put ppl on blast about the shit story yesterday because that was its purpose!!! PR bullshit at its best!!

  8. When our players in our sweet country understands the power that they will have through our Players Association they will never be exploited again and we shall definitely rise once more as a real football nation I am a believer.

  9. When u get here, we will talk Earl Mango Pierre, we have met before thru Dion, lol…

  10. Well I am also returning to our sweet country on the weekend and will be leaving at the end of the month and even if it doesn’t materialize within that time frame while I am there I have mucho faith in the names that I mentioned along with yourself and other interested parties to pull it of and becarefull of the corrupted TTFA spies and infiltrators eh, who might just want to stop it from happening. Them really good yes.

  11. Earl Mango Pierre sounds like a plan… i know dion Dion Sosa is heading out with his players next wednesday, let us schedule when he returns… I am very committed to being part of anything that will further our football, and I know there are many others that want this….

  12. Hahaha! I still waiting to write that book too

  13. Doh worry you will be the treasurer. hahaha

  14. I waiting for my invitation eh

  15. Che Abrams you sounds like a leader and very educated so here what is my advice and there are others on wired 868 including Mr. Live Wire, Savitri Maharaj, Mark Anthony Scott, Gordon Pierre, Dion Sosa, will definitely be part of this, find a venue and call a meeting and let us see all who is really interested in standing up against that corrupted TTFA and demand that serious changes needs to be made . I was even told that the corrupted TTFA doesn’t want to give our football back to the clubs and I am certain that you understand why they don’t want to do that so until Alyuh “Trinis” really get serious only then I will step in and also share my experiences and know how with my 25 yrs of experience representing our players in the America and in our sweet country so I will be waiting very patiently because as you and I know our people love to run up their mouths with no action so the ball in Alyuh court. Them really good yes.

  16. Maybe fball should b run by d ttcb they seem to b the only sporting organization that’s capable of run a somrwhat smooth ship

  17. Of course and I agree but who will lead the charges eh, maybe ah should rounds up some of my Jamaican, African, and Haitian people who now resides in our sweet country and really understands about standing up against injustice and wrong doings in their sweet country.

  18. Still Earl Mango Pierre, it is not too late….

  19. And this should have happened when the soon ex- sports minister and the other players stood up against the corrupted Jack Warner and the corrupted TTFA and took them to court to get their well deserved monies in 2006 but the problem was that Brent Sancho and Shaka Hislop didn’t make certain that all the players that represented leading up to the trip to Germany got their monies to, it was only about themselves and the other 13 players and if they had continued and make certain that the Players Association continued running even if they had no interest in running it eh, they should have make certain that the right folks was appointed to do so to continue defending the rights of our players just like the Cricket Players Association eh, things would have been better today but I guess they had their own agendas Them really good yes.

  20. Yes, Coaches, Managers….

  21. Or maybe the coaches Che Abrams

  22. Lasana Liburd, my belief is, there needs to be a stance by the players demanding changes within the TtFa and its operations and accountability…. Not a stand of just ensuring somebody bails out the ttfa all the time, this is just a cycle….. It will be a huge sacrifice by the current players…. But will serve national football. Issue is that who will take first step? Who will lead an effort such as this? I guarantee, it this is done, we may sacrifice 6 months, a tournament or two, but trinidad and tobago football will be a thousand times better, and will be prepared for future…. We need some people to put up their hands…

  23. The players will have to stand up to that …just DON’T represent them …it hurts when I see administrators taking the players for granted.